Buying Your First Investment Property

Begin with the End In Mind…

I first read the phrase "Begin with the end in mind" in a Steven Covey book called "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People". This expression makes a lot of sense because the fact is, you can’t get where you’re going unless you know where you want to go.

Most new investors understand that real estate is an investment vehicle that makes sense. We all know that many fortunes have been built with real estate. But when you are first getting started, all the available information can be very confusing. I often receive emails asking "what strategies should I use?" or "Where should I look to find deals?".

One reason these issues are so difficult to understand and sort out when you are new to the investing game is that the answer to the question can be different for every individual.

Seminars usually package information in a "one-size-fits-all" course. Since each individual investor has different needs, this inevitably leaves unanswered questions . Simply put, each person has their own individual situation with regard to credit, income, employment, assets, location, etc. All of these factors can affect your investing choices and objectives.

Adding to "newbie confusion" is the sheer number of strategies. Should I own rental property? Should I fix up and resell? How about Options? Or, how about buying tax liens? There are so many choices, how is one to know what to do when just starting out?

Like any trip, you start out by deciding where you want to go. Once the destination has been chosen, you figure out the best way to get there.
It sounds simple, and it is, but that one act of making plans from the "end to the beginning" will cause you to focus more effectively.

Many of the most successful and wealthy real estate investors built their fortunes with rental property. Some of them own hundreds of houses and apartments. Some of them own commercial properties like gas stations, storage facilities, or office buildings. They each had the same destination, that of cash flow from rental income, but two drastically different ways of getting there.

Frankly, most of the really successful investors are very patient men and women who build their portfolios slowly over a number of years. They are cautious and prudent, buying only when they know the deal is a good one.

Let’s say that your ultimate objective is to achieve ,000 per month passive income from residential rental property.
Now, think of that objective as if it were a city on a road map.

Most cities have a number of different roads you can take to get downtown. It is the same way with your investing. Different people will arrive at the same destination, each one using a slightly different route to get there.

Once you decide where you want to go, your route to your destination will be determined by your financing options.

If you have great credit, income for which you receive a W-2 statement, and lots of cash for a down payment, your financing options will allow you to take virtually any road you wish. The fact is, good credit and cash will get you where you want to go a lot faster. But it’s not the only way.

If you are credit challenged, self-employed, or lack cash for down payments, your ultimate destination can be the same, but you will need a different route to get there.

Your financing options determine the route you have to take to get to your destination. In essence, the answer to getting started is find out what kind of financing you can get, and then find deals that work with your available financing options.

If you can’t get any kind of financing at all, you can still buy deals where the seller will agree to finance the deal, or some creative scenario where financing is provided without you having to qualify.

If you have great credit and cash – hop on the expressway. Look for any good deal, and take advantage of any good seller financing deals that come your way.

In today’s real estate market, prices are lower than they have been in years, while bank failures and tight credit mean that creative financing solutions are becoming more popular. I believe that we may see more activity in the form of private lending, as players with cash may choose to loan direct to real estate investors, instead of keeping their cash in banks or stocks.

As long as you are making quality real estate investing decisions, and keep your destination in mind, you can have a successful trip down the road to a successful real estate investing career.

Donna Robinson is a licensed agent, real estate investor and real estate consultant, located in metro Atlanta, GA. She is a respected authority on the subject of real estate investing and property evaluation. Get her free newsletter for real estate investors at http://www.REIUonline.com

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